Our Exclusive Chat with Giselle Torres
So first off, my name is Giselle and your name is Giselle. Your birthday is this week. My birthday is this week-happy birthday by the way. We’re both Latina. We can clearly have a lot to talk about! When and why did you start the tradition of releasing music every year on your birthday?
Nice to meet you, Giselle! Haha what a coincidence, I love that. Gemini sisters all the way! I started the tradition of releasing music every year on my birthday when I was 15 years old. I actually got the idea because in Latin America, I’m sure you know, celebrating your Quinceanera is a big deal so I thought about writing a song for girls to be able to use for their birthday when they turn 15. But then 16 came around, and I noticed that here in the U.S they also celebrate something called a “sweet 16” so I decided to write another song that year as well, and then it just became something that stuck. I thought it’d be nice to have something to look back on over the years and be able to tell a different story each year with actual feelings and experiences. This year I turned 18 so I wanted to write about the excitement, the independence, but also what no one ever really talks about which is the uncertainty stepping into this new chapter of your life.
Can we expect an EP or more singles coming soon?
Yes! I am actually currently working on my first EP with legendary music producer Cory Rooney and have been going to the studio these past weeks to write some really cool stuff. I’m really excited to be able to share that with everyone this year!
What was your experience like as a finalist on Mexico’s X Factor?
It was an incredible memory. I had just turned 11, but this was where it all started for me. We didn’t really think anything would come out of it, just thought it would be a cool experience, but cut to a few months later and we ended up being one of the finalists. I felt like this was where I grew as an artist the most. Yes, I was still very young but I learned so much. From being this shy little girl to being thrown into this high stake pressure and interviews, and all these glitz and glam costumes and makeup, it was a change of scene for sure. I remember coming back home from the live shows once the show was over, and my family telling me that I had grown up so much even though it had only been a month since I had left. And I think they were right, being on a show like the X-Factor gives you certain experiences and gives you a taste of how this industry actually is, that stay with you forever. I was lucky to have learned so much at that age, but I think the best part about it was coming back home and going back to still being that regular girl but now having so much more knowledge than before.
You’re also an actress! When did you realize you wanted to become a performer?
Yes I am! I grew up doing musicals since my mom has her own musical theatre company in Miami, so I was practically born into it. I started pursuing this career at age 2 and ever since then, I knew this was something I wanted to do. It’s quite funny because the majority of my life has been spent on a stage. Ever since I could walk, I was performing!
What has been your experience as a Latina in the industry?
Being a Latina in the industry definitely comes with its highs and lows. Since I am an actress as well, I tend to go out for latinx roles which are usually most of the time stereotyped to what Hollywood makes them out to be. I think it has improved gradually, as there is much more Latin representation on television and film than before but there could still be so much more work done. I think it all starts with casting actual Latinos in Latino roles. The only way we can be represented on screen is by having the roles that are meant to play a certain ethnicity or race stay in that ethnicity or race. Many times, in my experience I have lost roles to other people who aren’t necessarily Latino but can “pass off” as they are. I wouldn’t want a Hispanic person playing an Asian role because they can pass off as Asian. Every person deserves to be represented in their own personal cultural background. I am Mexican, and am proud of my culture and background, and I hope that in the near future, every Latino and POC won’t have to worry about the lack and misrepresentation on screen. But on the music side, being Latina has brought me many advantages especially since I am bilingual, I am able to release my music in both English and Spanish and it has allowed me to expand my audience and demographic. It has also been amazing to see the response to my music from people all around the world who connect and resonate to it, which to me, is the reason why I make music in the first place.
Do you prefer to sing/act in a specific language?
English is my first language but I love being able to speak Spanish with my followers and family so I wouldn’t be able to choose!
I remember watching your cover of Martina Stoessel’s “Underneath it All” years ago. I see too you also have some other covers from Disney Channel Latin America. I’m a huge fan myself. Did you ever consider auditioning for a show like Soy Luna or Violetta?
Oh wow! What a throwback haha! Yes I am a fan too. When Violetta was happening, I was very young for it since everyone was much older on the show and when Soy Luna started the casting process, I remember they had me on their radar but I was around 12 years old so I was still rather young for it. But that doesn’t take away the fact that I would love to be a part of a musical series or film someday, that sounds like a whole lot of fun being able to combine all the things I love doing.
Is there a possibility to do more acting in the future? You’ve also done theater playing the iconic Maria in West Side Story. Maybe even Broadway?
Absolutely. Right now, I am in Los Angeles pursuing both music and acting and I have a couple of projects lined up to premiere in the next coming months, that is of course if they are not postponed by COVID, but I am very excited for them. Both feature films Princess Cut 2 and 3, a horror feature called “The Sleep” and a fun guest star on the Netflix show “The Big Show Show.” And yes, I did play Maria! That was a literal dream. By far, favorite show and favorite role. Being on broadway would also be a dream. I also have always thought about writing my own musical, who knows maybe in the far distant future? Maybe Lin Manuel Miranda would want to co-write? Haha.
What do you think the future of the music industry will look like now with COVID-19?
The music industry is definitely changing. This was something no one expected, and it not only affects us musicians but artists all over the world. But I think music is needed during this time more than ever. Perhaps, there won’t be live performances or gigs for a while, but one thing about us artists is that we create. We create and we make people feel something. I’m using this time to write and record a whole lot of music because at the end of the day, music is healing. When you are running, or in the shower, or going through a breakup, you turn to music. When you need hope, or strength, or just need a pick me up, music is there to lift you. As far as the industry goes, I think music releases won’t stop, in fact they will increase. And I feel like that is the only thing that is in our hands during this time because everyone is feeling the same right now, and we have the ability to transmit these feelings and put them out for the world to hear.